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Patch 5.4 Developer Round Table information roundup

Blizzard has just released a new developer roundtable video featuring Production Director J. Allen Brack, Lead Encounter Designer Ion Hazzikostas, and Game Director Tom Chilton talking about Patch 5.4 and the future of World of Warcraft. The 28 minute video is worth a watch, but we have a full roundup of all the new and interesting information after the break.

Patch 5.4
  • Overall, patch 5.4 was a very smooth launch for them. The servers even came online earlier than expected.
  • In EU they had to temporarily nerf the Celestial bosses on the Timeless Isle because of the massive influx of players trying to get their legendary cloak. Boss health was nerfed by up to 80%, and some abilities were removed entirely to facilitate a steady rotation of players without negatively impacting server performance.
  • The rush for the legendary cloak was more of an issue on EU servers because EU tends to have more hardcore raiders, and their time zones are more compressed leading to more people playing during prime times.

Flexible raids
  • They felt Wrath of the Lich King was the healthiest raiding time in WoW's history because of the amount of people who were raiding.
  • Flexible raids were added to help bolster the raiding population. It fills in the gap created in Cataclysm when 10-man difficulty was increased and prevented some friends and family groups from raiding.
  • They originally merged 10-man and 25-man lockouts in Cataclysm for reasons of fairness. They wanted 10-man raiders to be able to receive the highest rewards.
  • Flexible raids, with its dynamic scaling between 10 and 25 players, helps address many of the social issues of raiding such as people showing up late or having to leave early.
  • It has exceeded their expectations and a large amount of players are participating. In the last week, just as many players have participated in a flexible raid as have participated in a scenario.
  • Over 50% of the flexible raids completed in the last week had two or more raid sizes over the course of the session, indicating people are truly taking advantage of the dynamic raid size.
Timeless Isle

Timeless Isle
  • Timeless Isle will be a template going forward in the next expansion for end game world content.
  • They may introduce more structure in the future for this type of content, such as goals evolving over multiple weeks.
  • They plan on increasing the amount of discoverable elements in future world content, e.g. the sunken pirate ship or hidden treasure chests.
  • Timeless Isle style exploration will be worked into the future leveling experience in addition to traditional quests.

New Recruit-A-Friend systemNightwing mount
  • A new in-game interface instead of web-based.
  • Rewards a token instead of a set mount.
  • Token can be redeemed for a "myriad" of rewards including mounts and pets.
  • Retired RAF mounts may become available through this system such as the X-53 Touring Rocket or Zhevra, but details are still sketchy.

Storage and bag space
  • They look at bags like they are a TiVo or hard drive. No matter how big they make bags, players will still fill them up.
  • Heirlooms take up a lot of space and they want to centralize them into an interface similar to pets and mounts.
  • They want to get toy and vanity items out of player bags.

Miscellaneous
  • WoW will be featured at BlizzCon, and there will be another Live Raid event on stage.
  • They won't add gnomes to cinematics until it makes sense for the story being presented.
  • When the original WoW cinematic was first being conceptualized on story boards, Gnomes did not exist as a playable race which is why they never made the cut. Gnomes were added very late into WoW's development.
  • They realize raids need to be more melee friendly in the future and they are working on it, but they feel that Siege of Orgrimmar is one of the most melee friendly raids in recent memory.
  • The Brawler's Guild was a way to get players to trickle into new content without causing server stability issues, but they recognize the number of players who didn't like having to wait so long to get in. They aim to strike a better balance in the future.

Filed under: Blizzard, Mists of Pandaria

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